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The First Wife

3.58  ·  Rating Details  ·  385 Ratings  ·  46 Reviews
What if the man you love isn't the man you think he is? Lily, a young woman left alone in the world on the death of her grandparents, finds purpose when she befriends Harry Summers, a grieving widower, whose wife Sarah recently took her own life in Barcelona. The pair fall in love and Lily finally finds the security she has never had. But Lily's life takes a darker turn wh ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published March 1st 2011 by Headline Review
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 739)
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Lisa (scarlet21)
Apr 09, 2012 Lisa (scarlet21) rated it really liked it
Another brilliant, un-putdownable novel from Emily Barr. This one tells the stoy of Lily Button, 20 years old and all alone after the deaths of her grandparents whom she has looked after for years. Lily has no family and no friends and no idea how to get on in the world. Acting on the advise of the CAB she finds a room, her first ever friends and work as a cleaner. Amongst her clients are Harry and Sarah Summer, a glamorous couple that she meets briefly before the shocking death of Sarah. Lily c ...more
Jan 03, 2012 Meg rated it liked it
I'm a big fan of Emily Barr, though she's hard to find in the states, a good combo of travel and chick lit. This wasn't as interesting as her early works (I think Cuba/Cuban Heels was best), it's still a fun read with a nice bit of mystery. The pacing was a bit weird, with all the action happening very quickly at the end, but really enjoyed the first half and glad I hadn't read the cover before starting.
Oct 07, 2011 Jane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed
Lily Button was abandoned by her feckless parents when she was very young. Her grandparents took her in, and gave her a stable, traditional upbringing in the Cornish countryside. But as Lily grew up her grandparents became increasingly frail, and the balance shifted. Lily had to look after them.

When her grandparents died Lily found herself alone in the world. And she found herself homeless. The family home was heavily mortgaged, there were debts to pay, and Lily was left with nothing.

She was dev
Feb 22, 2012 Cláudia rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, 2012
I am a fan of Emily Barr, in each book I read. This is another one, page turning, hard to let go, a quick and satisfying read.
We always find nasty and horrible persons in her books, and the endings are not always as happy as we would like, but isn't that life?
I loved following Lily's growth, and even though we see from the start what she can't see herself about Harry, we are one her side, and we are surprised with the conclusions.
Great day when I found about Emily Barr, in September 2009 at a f
Sep 23, 2014 Julia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lily Button is 20, and has lived a very sheltered life, raised by her grandparents. When they die she finds work as a cleaner and is employed by local celebrity couple, Harry and Sarah Summer. After the death of Mrs Summer, Lily grows closer to Harry, but gradually she starts to have suspicions that Harry is not being entirely truthful with her about events in his marriage.

This is a strange book to get into. It feels reminiscent of Victoria Holt's novels (even the Cornish setting) about innocent
Nov 15, 2014 Mandy rated it really liked it
I do enjoy reading Emily Barr. Her characters are just so fleshed-out, so human, that I can relate to them so easily.
This story did not disappoint. Okay, I did guess the outcome, but it didn't take away any of the joy of reading this.
I didn't think this was as polished as her later novels, but still really good.
Hiep Huynh
Aug 28, 2014 Hiep Huynh rated it really liked it

I haven't read any Emily Barr books before, so wasn't expecting anything this suspenseful and, at times, downright frightening!

The first bit of the book is a bit slow, but there's still so much development and exploration of the characters that it isn't boring. Lily Button is a sweet girl, and although it's a bit unbelievable, it's never cloying or annoying.

The second bit feels a bit rushed, but I guess there was no way really to slow down the events. Suddenly other events in the book start
Sep 05, 2011 Leah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m a huge Emily Barr fan, I wasn’t able to get into her earlier work, but since The Sisterhood came out I’ve been hooked. I eagerly read The Sisterhood, followed by The Life You Want and The Perfect Lie. Emily is undoubtedly the Queen of suspense with her novels having brilliantly spooky plots with many twists and turns so I was thrilled when I received a proof copy of her new novel The First Wife. It’s billed as a modern-day Rebecca, but having not read Rebecca I have no idea how accurate that ...more
Jul 25, 2011 Aileen rated it it was amazing
Lily Button has lost both her Grandparents, she has no friends, family, or money she was abandoned at 8 years old and has lived with her Grandparents since. She is feeling empty and is grieving for them both. Lily manages to find a room in a family home where she gets reduced rates for babysitting. Lily finds a job cleaning for Harry and Sarah Summer, Harry is a local celebrity she is really happy they have a gorgeous home; she also manages to get another 2 cleaning jobs she has never worked in ...more
Hannah Wingfield
Apr 04, 2013 Hannah Wingfield rated it really liked it
First things first – Emily Barr is one of my favourite authors. I discovered her work nearly five years ago whereupon I hungrily read through all her then-available books, and ever since I’ve always looked forward to her next offering. This wasn’t my favourite book of hers (that accolade is shared between Out Of My Depth, Baggage and Backpack, through I’ve not disliked a single novel she’s written) but nevertheless it was very enjoyable. Sometimes I see Emily Barr’s work filed under “chick lit” ...more
Feb 23, 2015 Sarah rated it really liked it
I have now read all of Emily Barr's books and have enjoyed them all. This one is no exception. Innocent Lily Button gets in over her head when she falls for her charming employer but soon discovers he has secrets to hide. I really enjoyed the pace of this book and the dual setting of Cornwall and Barcelona. Another great read from one of my favourite authors.
John Travers
Oct 01, 2015 John Travers rated it liked it
why do you do this emily barr? or why do i do it, knowing that every book i read of yours will be the same. is it you trying to be clever, or an editor who thinks your well written prose isnt exciting enough. every one of your books is a well written story, with an "exciting twist" jammed in clumsily. just write the first book and forget the twist.

Oct 27, 2014 Eve rated it it was ok
I was disappointed in this book. I persevered with what seemed to be a very predictable plot because Emily Barr can produce awesome twists. But it didn't happen and for me it remained a predictable and not particularly interesting plot.
Aug 01, 2012 Alyson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kept me up latish at night reading this, and delayed me getting to work one morning as I kept having to read one more chapter! Had initially got a bit annoyed with the main narrator for her little bit over the top innocence and naivety (too many sentences in the style of "I'd never done X before, but it looks like I could pretend to everyone else that I could do it.") but about half way through the pace sped up and the plot turns more frequent. A sub-story involving New Zealand always began to m ...more
Jun 26, 2015 Dianne rated it really liked it
This was a fantastic read. I enjoyed the characters and the plot kept moving and twisting. Very well written.
Susan Wilford
Apr 10, 2015 Susan Wilford rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
I really liked this book. Another awesome read by my new favourite author; Emily Barr
Jan 31, 2015 Lizzy rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. Good pacing, kept me interested throughout and love the twists towards the end. A good read.
Lou Nixon
Apr 21, 2015 Lou Nixon rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary
Emily Barr does it again for me. An easy to read, travel infused, confusing, illuminating dark adventure. I liked it more than 'Sleeper' and less than 'stranded'. I'm going to read them all. That's my Emily Barr plan.
Brigid Maiden
Apr 08, 2014 Brigid Maiden rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
easy enjoyable read, very very reminiscent of Daphne DuMaurier
Lucy Blunden
Feb 05, 2013 Lucy Blunden rated it it was ok
Started well and although it seemed rather implausible, I liked the early years of the main character's life. Some quirks of up-bringing in an isolated life with ailing grandparents in Cornwall. The love-story second half fell very hard into the chic-lit genre which I had thought from reading the back, that this was not going to be. It was gushy and teen in its nonsense. I finished it but was not riveted nor could I believe in it. The 'surprise' twist was trite and on the predictable side.
Aug 11, 2015 Louise rated it liked it
Great could not put down
Aug 28, 2015 Rab-Rab rated it it was amazing
predictable but I enjoyed reading how it all unravelled! 5 STAR for that!
Rosie Hughes
Oct 26, 2015 Rosie Hughes rated it it was ok
I'm afraid this book was just so far fetched, I couldn't take it seriously.
Karen Seal
Dec 18, 2011 Karen Seal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. It was given to me by a friend who definitely knows the kinds of books I enjoy! The main character, Lily, you get to know very well. Although naive, she found an inner strength when she needed it, which I really liked. There was a suspense to the book that made me want to keep reading it but I did feel I knew where it was heading. Intertwining stories were all settled by the end, so you knew where all the characters lives were.
Gillian Smith
Jan 21, 2015 Gillian Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A classic good women's fiction read. I enjoyed the story of 2 parts, kept me interested to the end. Must admit I did not like the main character Lily, annoying in her own way, but did not put me off the book.

A good summer read, especially in Spain.
Nicole Carey
Jul 18, 2014 Nicole Carey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book though a bit dark in places I will be looking for more of Emily Barr's books to read
Ira Phillips
Aug 15, 2013 Ira Phillips rated it it was amazing
At last, a book I really enjoyed and did not want to put down!

I liked the character of Lily and could relate to her upbringing and early experiences of living with her grandparents. The description of this reminded me of an old boyfriend's grandparents and made me smile.

Although Lily is rather innocent and the ending predictable, it was fun to read and an escapism, which is what I require from the books I read!
Mar 20, 2013 Alison rated it it was ok
Readable, with cliched but well described characters and almost too much plot - too many neat coincidences for my taste, and I saw most of the "surprises" coming. However, I did quite like the heroine (only book I can think of where the female love interest wears clothes chosen by her dead granny, for one thing), and it was gripping enough for holiday-type reading.
Sep 24, 2012 Asha rated it liked it
I picked this book up with trepdition for I have never read Barr before. But she writes well and keeps you interested throughout. Although the book is compared to rebecca, I wouldnt say the same, but yes the underlying theme is similar to the du maurier novel but far more contemporary and less complex.

An enjoyable read. Would recommend.
Jul 23, 2012 Katy rated it really liked it
I was actually pretty gripped with this book - although the main element to the storyline was a bit fuzzy. But it was well written, with meaning and emotion similar to Jodi Picoult or Diane Chamberlain. I'm definitely going to have to add more of Barr's books to my wishlist!
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Emily Barr worked as a journalist in London, but always hankered after a quiet room and a book to write. She went travelling for a year, writing a column in the Guardian about it as she went, and it was there that she had an idea for a novel set in the world of backpackers in Asia. This became Backpack, which won the WH Smith New Talent Award. She has since written eleven more adult novels publish ...more
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